In many schools of spiritual thought and study, we are constantly reminded that in order to make progress we must destroy the ego. In this article the author looks at these principals and takes the reader on a deeper account that indicates, potentially, these ancient teachings may have been misinterpreted over time and communicated incorrectly. The ego is an intrinsic part of our consciousness. To seek to destroy it is to seek to destroy ourselves. There can be no spiritual progress with the intention set for self-destruction. Rather than self-destruction, the author proposes that understanding and then side-stepping the egoic control is all that a seeker needs to spiritually progress.
Keywords: Consciousness, Ego, Spirituality, Growth
If you’ve wandered through any spiritual or new age works either recent or reportedly ancient, you may have encountered the concept of ego destruction. As with many other ancient concepts or ideas, I cannot help but wonder if this is yet another epic misinterpretation. Forgive me, as I mean no disrespect to any person, faith or practice as I write. I merely wish to paint the picture of an alternative perspective and one that I think is sorely needed for much greater understanding. In my book, Exploring the Conscious Self for Growth and Understanding, I explored the ego and consciousness and came to the beginnings of some conclusions as follows:
- From my exploration into the topic of consciousness, the ego as the veil, I begin to come to the conclusion that the life we experience here on Earth is the result of a conscious individuation from the Cosmic Mind or One Mind in the form of ego for the purpose of a physical experience in an individuated focal point of existence in a specific time.
- The ego is the veil that separates humanity from the Cosmic Mind or that, to us, which is unconscious or simply, not yet known.
- The veil does not separate us from our Source or sever the connection to that Cosmic Mind but rather obscures it through the existence of the ego.
- We remain part of the entirety of the cosmos, our cells, molecules and particles gathered as a density intentionally collected in a point of focus here in this now as are all entities in existence within this frame or dimension of often misunderstood inter-connectedness as well as inter dependence.
The ego exists as learned scholars and wise spiritual teachers will in unison agree. Where they all may diverge is on the purpose of the ego and understanding its related consciousness. In my dissertation, I posit that it is because of the ego that we have individuated from the One Mind or Cosmic Consciousness and this intentionally formed the veil between the physical conscious world and the world of unconsciousness, ether or the ethereal realms of the spirit. It is through the process of choosing individual experience that seems to separate us from our Source at a purely physical or conscious level. We did so in order to experience creating and the receiving of the gift and the use of free will from whatever Source or Force in this universe that created us. As a unified whole, we still exist, I think, as everything in creation is interconnected as well as interdependent. Others are beginning to join this body of thought. (117)
In another of my works, So It’s Over, Now What, I explored another concept I wish to share with you, Malware:
Part of the brain’s simulation process is taking in data from the outside and bumping it up against the various memories we have stored within our minds. By comparing the data the mind makes assumptions about the data it has perceived, runs its simulations, comes up with assessments or conclusions, which then trigger various biological processes which can help keep us safe. Without memory and the ability to recall it, we might forget about that time fire burned our fingers and reach blindly into a flame without any caution. One of the challenges with memories is that they are not always exact and we sometimes store the memories of our resulting judgments from our mind’s simulation processes negatively. If we emotionally charge events such as those that are painful to us, those memories will be a bit easier to find during our mind’s simulation processes. The problem with the mind’s simulation processes it that the mind automatically assumes the data it takes in is correct, especially if within the memory it finds a similar painful outcome to a process. A painful memory may be distorted over time. Such memories may cause us to become triggered over an emotional landmine (read, unhealed psychological wound) that was based on an assumption not validated.
I refer to this as malware or a virus being introduced into our mental processing system. With malware or a virus in place in our mental processes, we may jump to conclusions without accurate data and decide that vengeance or revenge is the appropriate course of action given the data the mind has taken in, simulated, judged through the filters of all kinds of psychologically tainted experiences and then resulting in illusory emotion that seem real making someone feel a dire urge to strike out to preserve the ego or the body.
If your operating system is not in perfect health, you’ve let your emotional landmine blow somebody up but primarily, it’s you also that is hurt the worst by the blast because you were unaware of the psychological virus or malware unconsciously installed somewhere in your memory or emotions attached to a memory in your thought processing system. (47)
In two separate explorations shared, I’ve outlined a concept of the ego as that part of our Consciousness (Big “C” – Cosmic Consciousness) that has pointed its focus in this physical reality. I’ve also introduced the concept of malware in regard to the mental operating systems via beliefs and psychology in two of my separate works quoted above. Now think for just a moment. If we were to destroy the ego in an effort to spiritually advance, would we still be here in this third-dimensional reality? I don’t know the answer to that and I don’t know how we get to the answer of that. If you were to take a person and destroy their ego in quite literal terms, where would the “I” of them go? They’d still be here which means their individuation still exists and then, so would their ego. What I put forth is the idea that it is not bad to have an ego, it is not wrong to think in terms of “I” and it is not wrong to be an “I” in this frame. You can still progress in this frame spiritually by maintaining the “I” or the “Ego” or any of its component parts or aspects of consciousness. My explorations have led me to a path of consideration that it is actually not "the ego that must be destroyed in order for humanity to be awakened" but that it is the malware that must be discovered, rooted out or otherwise healed in order for an individual here in this frame with an “I” focus (what other focus can individuated consciousness have here in this frame?) to grow into greater awareness and improve health and well-being. It is not the ego that must be destroyed or any part of your being that you should dislike or seek to destroy. In fact, it is the opposite.
The “I” that is you is perfect in design. What is imperfect (or really, rather the challenge) is what you have within the concept of “I” that isn’t necessarily what you came here with, “Malware” in your mental operating processes. Now, I think in some cases that there is past-life residue that can permeate the “I” but even that is separate from the “I” that is you or the Ego. Even with malware operating in your consciousness, you can still step outside of it and observe it in action and experience the vast peaceful connectedness of the Cosmic Consciousness as Eckhart Tolle outlines in his work, The Power of Now. I think that we exist exactly as we are meant to. Our consciousness is never not connected (forgive me the double negative) to the Cosmic Consciousness but that we just have an individuated focus for the purpose of gaining experience. To me, this logically explains the variations of perception and belief from human to human. To me this logically unites many theories in a way that I can understand and that build a logical and necessary framework for me of complete compassion for every individuated aspect of consciousness here existing in the physical at this time.
The ego is a part of you. To want to destroy a part of yourself, I think, is one of the most harmful concepts in existence. To understand any virus or malware existing within your mental conscious operating system so that you can heal it and unite fragmented aspects of your consciousness into a loving, accepting, understanding and compassionate wholeness makes much more sense to me than destroying or surrendering the ego. You cannot be other than who you are. The true self is always there no matter what mental virus or malware has seeped into your consciousness. The true self can always observe, experience, understand, learn and grow even with the malware. Discovering the psychological wounds that are the "malware" and striving to transcend them brings greater understanding and a deeper sense of connectedness and awareness. You don’t have to destroy any part of you for that. You need only be open to understanding the framework within which you operate. Trust in your truest nature it is there right along with the “I” and the “We” of individuated as well as united Consciousness.
Exploring the Conscious Self for Growth and Understanding, 2014, Harter, J.L., Ministry of Connected Consciousness, CA
So It's Over. Now What? 2014, Harter, J.L., Ministry of Connected Consciousness, CA
The Power of Now, Tolle, Eckhart, 1999, New World Library, CA